What Is Employee Training and Development? (Plus Benefits and Types)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As workplace strategies or methods improve and technology advances, there comes a need for employees and employers to align with these changes in terms of abilities, values, skills and knowledge. One of the best ways to learn new skills or knowledge or enhance existing ones is through training and development. Completing employee training and development can you boost your performance and increase results in the workplace. In this article, we explain what employee training and development is, describe why it's important and share some of the most common types of training and training methods.

What is employee training and development?

One question you may ask as a professional is 'What is employee training and development?' Employee training and development involves any activity that helps you learn new skills or improve your existing skills or knowledge. Training is a formal process by which your employer helps you improve your work performance. Development is the acquisition of skills, attitudes or knowledge that prepares you for additional responsibilities or directions. Training is one common and specific form of employee development. Other forms include experiential learning, self-directed learning, informal learning, mentoring and coaching.

Related: The Importance of Training Employees (With 11 Benefits)

The benefits of employee training and development programmes

Training and development programmes are important because they represent a good opportunity for you to grow your knowledge and improve your job skills to become more effective at work. Despite the cost of these programmes, the return on investment can be immense if it's consistent. Here are the benefits of employee training and development programmes:

They improve your knowledge and skills

Training and development programmes can help you improve your skills and knowledge to match the various changes in the industry. These improvements can positively affect your productivity, thereby increasing the efficiency of the company. Some of the things you can learn through training and development programmes include safety, human relations and work ethics.

Related: 8 Benefits of Soft Skills Training and Types of Soft Skills

They satisfy the recommendations for performance review

A performance review, also called a performance appraisal, is an assessment where your manager or supervisor reviews your work performance. When your performance review suggests the need for improvement on a particular skill or subject, your employer may organise a training and development programme to help satisfy this requirement. This programme can help you address an identified problem area and work towards a solution.

They prepare you for higher responsibilities

Employee training and development programmes can also prepare you for a higher role and additional responsibilities in an organisation. These programmes can help you learn the skills necessary to function effectively in your new position. For instance, your employer may train you in leadership skills or in a particular software you may use in your new role.

Related: On-the-Job Training: Definition, Types and Examples

They demonstrate that your employer values you

Offering a training and development programme at work can be a sign that your employer values you. By continuing to learn new abilities and skills, you may not only become a better employee but also a productive member of the company. This can improve your morale and your workplace capabilities.

They assess the efficiency of a new performance management system

Employee training and development programmes can help your employer test the effectiveness and efficiency of a new performance management system, which can help the human resource department establish clear performance expectations. Using these systems to train you can help reinforce the necessity of meeting goals and help you better understand the company's expectations.

Related: 8 Positive Feedback Examples for Employee Performance

They can improve your IT and computer skills

Training and development programmes can also help you learn about specific IT topics and computer skills, such as the use of software systems. Your employer may train you to create spreadsheets and graphs, edit data in the company's database and understand network arrangements. This can provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of computers to improve workplace efficiency.

Related: What Are Technical Skills?

Types of employee training and development

Employee training and development varies depending on the needs of the organisation, the target participants of the programme and the type of skill or knowledge that the company expects participants to learn. Here are the most common types of employee training and development:

  • Technical training: This training helps you improve the practical skills you use on the job. Unlike leadership or communications training, which aims to improve your soft skills, technical training focuses on what you do each day.

  • Soft skills training: A subset of skills training, soft skills training focuses specifically on your transferable skills, as opposed to your technical skills. Soft skills include teamwork, communication, influence, creativity, adaptability and emotional intelligence.

  • Compliance training: Mandated by policy, regulation or legislation, compliance training educates you on the regulations or laws applicable to your job function or industry. Compliance training may include topics such as sexual harassment or cybersecurity.

  • Safety training: This training focuses on improving organisational safety and health and preventing workplace injury. It may encompass customer safety, workplace safety, employee safety and information or digital safety.

  • Management development programme: This focuses on providing employees in leadership positions with the skills and knowledge to perform their job effectively. This training may include topics such as assessing, listening, engagement, communication, collaboration and accountability.

  • Leadership development programme: This training focuses on activities that increase your leadership ability or an organisation's leadership capability. It includes activities such as job rotation, self-study, coaching, mentoring and learning events.

  • Customer service training: This focuses on providing you with the skills and knowledge to provide excellent customer service. Customer service training may include content on essential employee behaviours, service systems and service strategies.

  • Executive development programme: This provides executives and senior leaders with the skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. As opposed to leadership development, which helps non-executive employees develop the knowledge and skills necessary to advance to a leadership role, executive development targets professionals who are already at a leadership or management level within an organisation.

  • Corporate training: This focuses on helping employees obtain new skills and knowledge. It can help internal employees become better at their current roles, close organisational skill gaps or advance in their careers.

  • Onboarding: Sometimes called new hire orientation, onboarding is the process through which employers equip new hires with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed at their jobs.

  • Sales enablement: This is the cross-functional and strategic effort to boost the productivity of market-facing employees by providing relevant and ongoing resources throughout the customer's journey to drive business impact. It often encompasses talent development, process improvement, content creation, coaching and sales training.

Related: What Is Management Training? Definition, Benefits and Tips

Types of employee training and development methods

There are several types of employee training and development methods. These include:

  • Instructor-led training: Instructor-led training occurs in a training room, usually in a classroom, office or conference room. This type of training method can have one or more instructors, who teach skills or material to trainees through discussions, demonstrations, presentations and lectures.

  • Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT): This refers to instructor-led training that takes place virtually through video teleconferencing software.

  • Microlearning: This enhances your performance or learning through short pieces of content, which you can access on-demand when you need them. Common forms of microlearning include games, how-to videos, infographics, podcasts, job aids, blogs and self-paced e-learning.

  • E-learning: This is a structured learning experience or course delivered online. E-learning can either be synchronous, with you and the instructor attending together from different locations, or asynchronous, which is self-paced and usually include pre-recorded lecture video or content, text or visuals, games, simulations, knowledge quizzes and other interactive elements.

  • On-the-job training: This training method provides instructions for employees at work. It may combine various aspects of the job with educational materials, such as using hands-on experience to perform tasks under the supervision of a coworker, trainer or manager.

  • Simulation: This is a broad genre of experiences, such as immersive learning simulation for formal learning programmes.

  • Coaching: This method can help enhance your work performance. It's an interactive process that involves active listening, strengthening conversations, asking relevant questions and creating actions plans, with the aim of helping you develop towards your preferred future state.

  • Blended learning: This refers to a training programme that includes two or more of the training methods referenced above. It can refer to a combination of formal and informal training methods, such as online resources, classroom instruction and on-the-job coaching.

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